The Marshall Court: National Supremacy and Sanctity of Contracts
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Holding: Established the doctrine of judicial review.
In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress gave the Supreme Court the authority to issue certain judicial writs. The Constitution did not give the Court this power. Because the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, the Court held that any contradictory congressional Act is without force. The ability of federal courts to declare legislative and executive actions unconstitutional is known as judicial review.
In Fletcher v. Peck (1810), the Supreme Court ruled that a grant to a private land company was a contract within the meaning of the Contract Clause of the Constitution, and once made could not be repealed. In addition to establishing a strict interpretation of the Contract Clause, the case marked the first time the Supreme Court struck down a state law on constitutional grounds.
Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819), was a landmark decision from the United States Supreme Court dealing with the application of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution to private corporations. The case arose when the president of Dartmouth College was deposed by its trustees, leading to the New Hampshire legislature attempting to force the college to become a public institution and thereby place the ability to appoint trustees in the hands of the governor of New Hampshire. The Supreme Court upheld the sanctity of the original charter of the college, which pre-dated the creation of the State.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Holding: The Constitution gives the federal government certain implied powers.
Maryland imposed a tax on the Bank of the United States and questioned the federal government's ability to grant charters without explicit constitutional sanction. The Supreme Court held that the tax unconstitutionally interfered with federal supremacy and ruled that the Constitution gives the federal government certain implied powers.
Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821), was a United States Supreme Court decision most noted for the Court's assertion of its power to review state supreme court decisions in criminal law matters when the defendant claims that their Constitutional rights have been violated. The Court had previously asserted a similar jurisdiction over civil cases involving American parties.
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824),[1] was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the power to regulate interstate commerce, granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, encompassed the power to regulate navigation.[2] The case was argued by some of America's most admired and capable attorneys at the time. Exiled Irish patriot Thomas Addis Emmet and Thomas J. Oakley argued for Ogden, while William Wirt and Daniel Webster argued for Gibbons.